Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Cracks and Jack
It's so rare to see custom tile work like this any more, that I grieve to see it drilled into for a pointless railing dividing two shop entrances. The "Colonial" must have been a hotel or apartment building long ago. The crack suggests it could have endured a fairly strong earthquake, and the upper facade, seen in the photo below, shows such evidence as well. When the 1906 quake hit this area, the only fatality happened when a brick hotel collapsed on the proprietor. Residential chimneys fell down all over the area, but the wooden framed houses themselves endured pretty well, being able to flex with the earth. I don't know if the Colonial was around for those events. It seems unlikely with all its brickwork still standing.
Few people realize the epicenter of that shaker was closer to Santa Rosa than San Francisco, and the rupture continued quite strongly up the fault line north. Writer Jack London toured these areas with his wife, Charmian, soon after, and wrote about his observations for Collier's magazine. In her diary (held by the Huntington Library in San Marino), Charmian mentions Jack writing part of "White Fang" while they stayed at a hotel nearer to the railroad depot in Willits.
As Melodee pointed out in the comments, the Colonial name applied to the cinema once operated in part of this building. Thanks Melodee!